Derby Telegraph’s Bygones features a look at Derby Floods in December 1965

Readers of the Derby Telegraph may have read our monthly Bygones Article this Monday.

In this month’s look at the collections deposited at the Media Archive for Central England, I viewed an ATV Today report from 1965 featuring the last major flooding of the River Derwent.

In December 1965, nearly 700 properties were flooded when the River Derwent burst its banks at Duffield, Little Eaton, Derby, Ambaston, Great Wilne and Shardlow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the residents with furniture and other belongings which had been damaged by the flood water. All pictures courtesy of ITV.

On December 21, ATV Today reporter Reg Harcourt interviewed people in Mansfield Street, Derby, who had been badly hit by the flooding 11 days earlier.

The film begins with a shot of Exeter Bridge, Derwent Street, where the River Derwent’s level is still high.

We then see the flood-damaged furniture and household items which have been brought outside from one of the houses on Mansfield Street. They include a bed and a mangle. Another exterior shot from a different house shows a sofa and chairs ruined by the water. A man emerges from a house bringing more belongings out to dry. Then we see an electrician inside one of the homes looking at the electrics with a resident.

A young boy is filmed pinning Christmas decorations to the chimney breast while a baby sleeps in a cot.

In front of a row of terrace houses, Reg then reports: “This is Mansfield Street in Derby, one of the worst- affected areas in the flooding, and, as you can see behind me, they’ve put up their own tide mark to record the event.”

He looks around at the hand-painted writing on the house which reads “High Tide 1965. 3pm Dec 10”. Reg continues: “The water came up well over 3ft high.”

He then interviews an unidentified man who painted the tide mark. He asks him what made him record the event and he replies: “Well, the water came that deep, to that height. People just think it was a bit of water that came in.”

The man explains that the damage to his house has amounted to £60 or £70 and that he now cannot afford a Christmas and replacement furniture for his home.

An unidentified woman is interviewed and tells how the flood has also caused £70 damage and that her children’s Christmas toys have been lost.

Reg continues to interview a resident we had seen earlier in the footage with an electrician in his home. The man tells him: “Actually, it’s affected the whole course of this Christmas for the children and everybody concerned in the area…

“Every one of us has suffered, not only what we’ve lost but the shock of it. It came so sudden and these are very ‘old type’ houses… if you had wanted to have got any of the downstairs furniture or stuff upstairs it was a terrific job because the stairs are twisted and you couldn’t get the stuff up…. we lost everything from downstairs.

“The children’s Christmas stuff, it all went, and we stood at the window and watched all the presents from various houses come floating out and there was nothing that could be done.”
A woman, whose daughter has been in contact with MACE and who recently saw this film at the Derby Families on Film screening at Quad, says in the film that she has a family of 13 and that there are 15 in her house all together.

She says that they will try to make a good Christmas and that they’ve got good neighbours. “We all stick to one another,” she says. “The Civil Defence and the Women’s Voluntary Service have been wonderful and we are all going to stick together and we’ll try to have the best Christmas we’ve ever had.”

Reg then interviews Alfred Darrell, Chief Civil Defence Officer, about the aftermath of the flooding. “Now we’re in the restoration period, we’ve had the survival period… now we’re trying to get things back to something like normal so these people can have a reasonable Christmas.

“Some are really pushing the boat out, they’ve got their Christmas trees decorated and it does me good to see the way they’re now striving to overcome the problems that they’ve run into lately.”
Mr Darrell then goes on to say that there are many people who still need furniture and that many of the older residents, born and bred in the area, will not leave their houses so they are trying to make things as easy as they can, bringing hot soup in the evenings.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s